touch a black hole

Black holes make for a perplexing subject matter, don’t you think! Questioning reality and the physical form take us further into these enigmas, shedding light on new ideas.

The magic of black holes

So, what’s the big deal anyway? What is so interesting about this subject?

Black holes are interesting due to the power of their gravitational pull. This grip warps time and space within a ‘deep well’. Anything, passing close, will be absorbed, never to return.

Hawking believed

It is a common assumption that black holes have a ‘back door’, so to speak. This is what Hawking said, anyway. This back door is simply an exit from reality which leads to the existence where time and the laws of nature are different from what we understand. It’s a mystery, what stands on the other side, and the world’s greatest scientists never tire of pondering the meaning of it all. Hawking also wanted to understand what happens right outside the black hole, this side of the ‘back door’. Following laws of physics, borrowed from Albert Einstein and Paul Dirac, Hawking came upon something shocking. Black holes didn’t just pull in materials, they also emit radiation.

New ideas

A recent paper presents a new idea on the black hole subject, revealing what exactly will happen if you touch a black hole. This theory suggests there is no back door to the universe – black holes are impenetrable fuzzballs.

Professor of physics at Ohio State University and author of the paper, Samir Mathur, says when you near the fuzzball, you will be destroyed. A fuzzball is a fuzzy area of space, unlike recent beliefs of the black hole being smooth. Oddly enough, you will not die but become a holographic copy of yourself. This copy will be embedded upon the fuzzball’s surface.

This theory was first introduced in 2003 and brought excitement to the scientific community. Finally, a solution to a certain paradox could be explained. This was a paradox discovered by Steven Hawking over 40 years ago.

Mathur’s calculations paved the way for 15 years of maturing his argument. His latest paper suggests:

‘Black holes, as a holographic copy, are exactly how scientists should be thinking about black holes being fuzzballs-this brings understanding to the black hole’s behavior.”

Paradox unresolved

The fundamental laws of physics state that nothing in the universe can be completely destroyed. Almost 30 years later, Hawking has failed to provide a solution to the paradox while Mathur may be onto something. Unlike Hawking believes that black holes absorb and completely destroy materials, Mathur believes that materials are absorbed but remain on the surface of the ‘fuzzball’.

Mathur told Business Insider:

“Material which is absorbed as a hologram is transformed, not really destroyed – there is also no exact copy, because of the universe’s reputation for imperfection.”

The String theory

Mathur can also explain his idea mathematically using the string theory. The string theory is the idea that particles are made of string that interact to create all things in the universe.

Although the string has never been observed, it offers solutions to scientific mysteries like quantum gravity the unified theory of everything. Mathur says that black holes are fuzzballs made of masses of string, which make this theory fit perfectly into the string theory.

Contested once more

Some scientists partially agree with Mathur, the difference lying with the notion of survival after being absorbed by the black hole. In 2012, a group of physicists, at the University of California, stated that you would not survive at all if pulled into the black hole and favored a term ‘firewall’. So, we are torn between fuzzball and firewall, it seems.

“The only way to conduct an experiment to test each theory would be to create tiny black holes in a particle accelerator. Although this is questionable as well.”

Many scientists support Mathur’s ideas, and only time will tell the truth of fuzzballs. As for rivaling theories, they will hold fast until proven otherwise. Aren’t black holes interesting? I think so.

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Sherrie is a freelance writer and artist with over 10 years of experience. She spends most of her time giving life to the renegade thoughts. As the words erupt and form new life, she knows that she is yet again free from the nagging persistence of her muse. She is a mother of three and a lifetime fan of the thought-provoking and questionable aspects of the universe.